Have you sat on a chair? That’s a ridiculous question. You must’ve sat on several chairs all your life. Now, with all your chair sitting experience, would you call yourself a ‘chair expert’?
No, not really.
You wouldn’t be able to build one. But! What you would be able to do, is gauge the sellability of a chair. The success of the chair would depend on the opinion and experience of its users, like you.
Likewise, the fact that would make your job portal work, would be the functionality it provided to your users.
Social Networks can Benefit Employers as well as Job Seekers
There are two types of users for your job portal. The employer and the job seeker. A functionality you add, has to benefit the employee, or job seeker, or both. Let’s consider the use of a social networking functionality.
A social networking functionality can help Employers and Job Seekers as follows:
- Job seekers can get quick updates from Employers they follow or companies they would be interested in joining.
- Employers and Job Seekers can connect with actual people and grow their network, and improve their awareness.
- Job seekers can improve their profile by joining groups
- Employers can gain attention by maintaining an active blog.
The idea as such, could be compared to LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social networking platform, but is a quite popular medium for employers and job seekers to connect with each other. Because of the exact reasons stated above. Of course having a LinkedIn type advantage in a job portal like Monster can be a formidable solution.
Integrating Social Networking in Your Job Portal Website
Let’s list out details of a job portal website, and provide a realistic scenario. Say you have a WordPress website. The cost of introducing a social networking functionality is $0, if you use the BuddyPress plugin. That’s a great start.
The reason why I advocate BuddyPress is because it is a fairly advanced social networking plugin. The advantage it presents are its features and the fact that it works with most themes available.
- BuddyPress provides dedicated member profiles with activity streams for recent member activities
- A member can connect with other members and receive notifications for the same.
- You can create groups, with forums specific to groups or site-wide forums
- It provides several messaging options for private and public messaging.
I can add several features to this list, but I’ll stop here.
A popular job portal plugin on WordPress, is the WP Job Manager plugin. And the theme most users use along with this plugin, is the Jobify theme. Now, the WP Job Manager plugin is not exactly BuddyPress ready. That is to say, you’d need a few tweaks.
Integrating BuddyPress and WP Job Manager
A very basic idea of integrating the BuddyPress and WP Job Manager plugin would be:
- Making the Jobify theme BuddyPress compatible: This would involve overriding theme templates if needed, based on your requirements.
- Displaying Recently Posted Jobs in Activity Stream: For job seekers, recently posted jobs should be added in their activity stream. You could extend your activity types and hook on to WP Job Manager’s save post action, to display recent activities.
- Adding Resume Fields in a Member’s profile: To add details for members, you’d have to add custom profile fields in BuddyPress.
- Adding Quick Access Tabs: You can add quick access tabs such as ‘Recommended Jobs’ as per the user’s resume fields, and experience for job seekers. For job seekers, you can also display a tab listing employers who have recently viewed their profile. Similarly, you can add a ‘Recommended Candidate’ tab for employers as per their job postings. You can also add a view count stating the number of job seekers who have viewed an employers profile.
- Search Option: Here, you can provide a tag based or category based ‘search’ option.
Now, I understand, this probably does not cover every possible requirement you’ll have. But it’s a start. If you aren’t using the WP Job Manager plugin, you would have to integrate BuddyPress with your plugin, if there isn’t an out-of-the-box solution, or an extension plugin available.
You can grow on this idea, and think of adding additional features as per your need.